Tia Harvey and I are currently here at the So Summer Percussion Institute in Princeton. Last night, the participants put on an awesome concert at Small World Coffee Shop. It was a very intimate setting, where the click-clacks of new music, the shouts of baristas, and the chit chat of customers all mixed together in harmonious cacophony. It was standing room only, and I decided to sit down on the ground in front of the invisible stage. By far, this was one of my most thrilling and exciting experiences. Many townies enjoyed the vibe, and most tried to get as close to the action as possible. However, we did have one older gentleman actually go up to the next performing group and say, “Stop playing your music! It’s not good!” I suppose, everyone’s entitled to their own opinion. Though, I can’t help but wonder if the unhappy man had seen the concert in a concert hall, would he have reacted the same way?
I have to admit, the Small World gig got me thinking. These days, almost any space is an opportunity for a live musical performance. Every music student has had to play in their dreaded “degree recital” in their school recital hall. Many string quartets, organists, and guitarists play for special occasions, such as weddings. Some of us sing or play in a church. New music groups play in strange places, like art museums and sidewalks. Art music has come a long way from the large concert halls. We are no longer confined to four walls and uncomfortable seating. Which leads me to my question:
What is your favorite live music venue and why?